Makahiya plant is also known as the sensitive plant, sleepy plant, action plant, Dormilones, touch-me-not, shame plant, zombie plant, or shy plant. Its scientific name is Mimosa pudica. It is a creeping annual or perennial flowering plant of the pea/legume family Fabaceae and Magnoliopsida taxon, often grown for its curiosity value: the compound leaves fold inward and droops when touched or shaken, defending themselves from harm, and re-open a few minutes later. In the UK it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
The species is native to South America and Central America, but is now a pantropical weed, and can be found in Southern United States, South Asia, East Asia, and South Africa as well. It is not shaded tolerant, and is primarily found in soils with low nutrient concentrations. Mimosa pudica is well known for its rapid plant movement. Like several other plant species, it undergoes changes in leaf orientation termed “sleep” or nyctinastic movement. The foliage closes during darkness and reopens in light. This was first studied by the French scientist Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan. Due to Mimosa’s unique response to touch, it became an ideal plant for many experiments regarding plant habituation and memory.
It was just recently when a netizen posted a photo of the “Makahiya Plant” which can be easily found in the Philippine. But in Canada, it is actually sold for $7.99 or PHP400! Than-than Javier was the one who shared it online. A lot of Filipino netizens were surprised as this plant is only considered as a weed in our country and can be seen almost everywhere. If we consider the climate in Canada, obviously it will be very difficult for them to grow such plants that are used to hot climates like in the Philippines. But would you believe that it is not just a weed because it also has a lot of health benefits!